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Greenpeace gave just two companies a passing grade. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Greenpeace releases first tuna brand sustainability ranking

Click on the flag for more information about Canada CANADA
Thursday, February 03, 2011, 01:20 (GMT + 9)

Greenpeace Canada has just released its first-ever sustainability ranking of 14 major tuna brands. 

Industry representatives are simultaneously meeting at the annual Seafood Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC).
Canned tuna brands Ranking. (Photo: Greenpeace.ca)

The organisation’s report - “Lifting the lid on the major canned tuna brands in Canada: Ranking the sustainability and equitability of tuna sourcing” - divulges that most canned tuna sold at supermarkets originates from environmentally injurious and socially irresponsible fisheries. 

Greenpeace claims that global tuna fisheries are overfished through methods that jeopardise at-risk species such as turtles, sharks and sea birds through bycatch.

“The destructive practices used to catch most tuna in Canadian stores means consumers could be getting more than they bargained for,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. 

“If consumers knew of the wasted marine life and imperiled tuna caught to produce their can of tuna, they might think twice at the supermarket. Canned tuna is a staple in many Canadian homes and is found in every supermarket chain, but that could change if tuna sourcing doesn’t,” she added.

Greenpeace gave just two companies a passing grade: Wild Planet Foods with 65.1 per cent and Raincoast Trading with 50 per cent because their commitments to sustainability show in their actions on the water and in their products. These companies use more selective fishing gear, support coastal-state-owned operations and offer consumers clearer labelling.

Nearly half the tuna firms fell in the 40 per cent range for largely failing to improve their sourcing practices despite their sustainability policies. The companies include Ocean’s brand in third place; the house brands of Canada’s top supermarket chains - Metro, Sobeys, Loblaw, and Walmart - in fourth to seventh place; and Canadian Fishing Company, marketing Gold Seal brand, in eighth place.

Although Overwaitea Food Group came at the top of Greenpeace’s 2010 supermarket ranking report, it placed ninth this time, followed by Safeway. Both companies continue to source diverse products of concern.

Tuna cans. (Photo: Greenpeace.ca)

National brand Clover Leaf, which holds the biggest market share of Canada’s canned seafood, came in 11th and did not respond to the Greenpeace tuna survey. Unico fell last in the 14th spot and did not respond either; this firm shows no sign of considering the sustainability or equitability of its tuna, the organisation told.

“Clover Leaf ranked 11th because while it may provide information to consumers on the company’s website about tuna and tuna sustainability initiatives, the company is not forthcoming about what’s really in its cans,” said King. “As a major canned tuna provider, Clover Leaf needs to follow the lead of other companies and be transparent with Greenpeace and its customers about whether all the sustainability talk is reflected in its cans.”

A scoop of tuna and bycatch from the net of the Albatun Tres purse seiner. (Photo: Paul Hilton/Greenpeace)

Greenpeace is asking supermarket chains and tuna brands to source their tuna sustainably by only obtaining it from healthy tuna stocks, avoiding fisheries running illegally or using haphazard fishing methods and supporting equitable fishing agreements. Greenpeace is also asking for greater transparency by making sourcing data publicly available and for improved traceability through complete product labelling.

Related articles:

- Sobeys launches superior sustainable seafood policy 

- Canadian supermarkets curb 'destructively fished' seafood 

By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com

 

Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  Greenpeace International - The Netherlands
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